My Service Dog, Jade

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jade's First Time at the Movie Theater

Tonight my better half and I went to the movies, and for the first time took Jade with us.  She's never been to the movie theater, and I've always been weary of bringing her just because the movies are always so loud. I've always wondered if it'd ruin her hearing, or cause her unneeded stress.  It's true that  a Service Dog is allowed to accompany a disabled person WHEREVER that person can go, or decides to go....but a good and smart Service Dog handler considers the situation in which they place their Service Dog.

I wasn't sure if Jade was ready, but again, she amazed me, as usual.  She was just as calm and relaxed as could be, as she always is when on the job. I brought her a small blanket that I'd crocheted a long time ago to help her feel more comfortable. It's the same blanket I keep on her bed.

We entered the mall where the theater is located and Jade's been in there several times in the past.  Nothing unusual, but it was fairly packed; which was odd for a Monday evening.  We found out why when we arrived to see some people dressed in costume as Star Trekies. Jade's used to being in large crowds and that doesn't phase her at all. Once we bought our tickets, we headed for the elevator, because as I've stated on my blog many times, the one thing you should NEVER do as a SD handler is to take your dog on an escalator.  It's way too dangerous for your dog, but some handlers are less inclined to consider their dog's safety.  Jade is great with elevators....never had a problem.  The first time she got on an elevator was at the mall, and it was as though she'd ridden in them her whole life.

Jade at 11 weeks
So we arrived on the top floor to get our popcorn and drinks, and Jade waiting patiently in line with us, doing a "front."  This is where she moves to the front position, in front of me, sideways, parallel to the service counter, and sits and waits patiently.  Once we had our goodies, we headed to the theater, and I thought, this is where she could get a bit stressed since this is totally new to her.  It's not like the old days anymore, where the lights are on in the theater and it's very bright until the previews start and the lights dim; the theater is already dark upon entry. Without hesitation, so as not to make Jade think something was wrong, we entered the theater and found the handicap seating toward the front. I squatted down to avoid getting in people's way, and spread the little blanket next to my seat for her.  Jade got right on the blanket and did a perfect down/stay.  For a little while, she watched the big screen intently, with her ears up and alert, turning her head from side to side.  It was as if she was watching the movie, but I'm certain she was trying to ascertain whether the people on the screen were real or inside that screen-like thing, like the one we have at home, only smaller.  :)  I watched her out of the corner of my eye for a while looking for any signs of stress, but then she lay her head between her front paws and began to doze a bit.  She stayed right there until the movie was over!

What an amazing dog! I swear this dog NEVER ceases to amaze me.  She makes me proud!

The one very NOT new experience we had was all the folks at the theater staring at us as we entered the building, waited in line, entered the theater, exited the theater, etc.  I really don't like people staring at us, but I suppose it's to be expected.  People don't usually see service dogs every day, although I wish they did.  I wish there were more of them out and about.  There's always at least one small child that says something like, "Look mommy, there's a dog!" or "Hey that lady has a dog!"  Can't get anything passed the children, especially a dog! :)

Jade hanging out with buddies
What I  absolutely get tired of and find absolutely RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL are those people who say things like "What's wrong with you?"  or "Why do you need a dog, you're not blind?!" or "What are you training her for?" and the most annoying one...."Isn't it hard to give them away once you have them trained?!"

I really don't mind people asking questions, inquiring about her training, her breed or making conversation about service dogs, etc.  I don't even mind when people stop to tell me about their Uncle's friend's service dog, etc. as long as I'm not in a rush, and I'm MORE than willing to take a moment to help educate others on the value of service dogs and such, or even to let someone pet her, especially children...that is, IF THEY ASK!

In summary, it was the very first time Jade attended the movies with me, and she was masterful! It was as though she'd been doing this her whole life.  You amaze me, Jade! You're the BEST DOG in the world!